It's such a beautiful day out there - 14C, sunny and balmy and way too spring like to feel like a heavy soup. Corn chowder is one of our favourite soups and it always feels summery so that was the only kind of soup I could even consider making. To make it a bit new and different, I added parsnips in addition to the potatoes and evaporated milk instead of cream again with great results. The parsnips add quite a bit of sweetness to the soup so when you mix that with corn, you are going to end up with a bit of a sweeter soup. The bacon fat helps to counteract that and I also used lots of fresh black pepper to give it some bite.
We took this soup and some brown butter soda bread to a friend's house for lunch and it was gobbled up with great enthusiasm.
Parsnip Corn Chowder
4 slices bacon, chopped roughly1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups red potatoes, small dice
2 1/2 cups parnsips, peeled and small dice
corn cut off of four cobs, reserve the cobs for the stock
4 cups chicken stock
bunch fresh thyme
370 ml evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
First of all, cut the corn off of your corn cobs and put the cobs in a pot with the stock and bring that to a light simmer. Turn the heat down to low and let the cobs steep in the stock while you get everything else ready to flavour the stock. You can let it steep for longer if you start that step much earlier - the longer they steep, the more corn flavour your stock will take on.
Cook your bacon in a heavy soup pot on medium heat until it's crispy and has rendered all the fat. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Get rid of all the bacon fat except for a couple of tbls (sometimes you will barely have that much fat all together - depends on the bacon)
Saute the onion for a few minutes in the bacon fat before adding the garlic. Saute for another minute, stirring the whole time so that the garlic doesn't burn.
Throw in the potatoes and the parnsips and stir them around for a couple of minutes, letting them soak up all that nice bacon fat before you add the chicken stock. Remove the cobs from the stock and throw them out and then pour the stock over the parsnips and potatoes in the soup pot. Bring that to a boil, turn down the heat so it's just barely simmering, add the corn and the thyme and let it cook until all the veggies are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes should do it.
Add the evaporated milk and let it simmer lightly for another few minutes. To serve, ladle the soup in a bowl and sprinkle the top with some of the reserved crispy bacon and a few grinds of black pepper.